That Brown Vest


Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Adolescence, Advice, Attitude, Childrearing, Cleaning, Clothes, Communication, Confidence, Connections, Conversations, Daughters, Encouragement, Memories, Mother, Motherhood, Mothering, Parenting | Posted on 27-03-2017

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Every few years I get the urge to go through my closet and get rid of stuff. You can read about the last time I made such a purge here. Here is how I decreased the surplus population of my clothes. My goal is always to get rid of:

1. The ugly stuff.
2. The stuff that will never ever fit again.
3. The stuff that makes me feel uncomfortable, unconfident, and ugly.

I have had surprisingly a lot of stuff in each of these categories.

I filled three giant trash bags with jeans that are too tight, ruffled blouses that are hideous, pleated slacks that look shiny, and that sort of thing. All kinds of ugly.

I proudly announced to my daughter my feat: I got rid of all my ugly clothes!

What about that brown vest? She asked.

That. Brown. Vest?

Oh that. I guess I didn’t get rid of ALL my ugly clothes. That brown vest might be ugly, but it makes me happy, warm, and comfortable. In fact, I wore it on my last zoo outing with my youngest.

I think you look pretty in that ugly, brown vest, she said.

Well then, it’s a keeper!

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Oh, Fudge!


Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Cleaning, Parenting | Posted on 19-02-2015

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Oh, Fudge! So much for 40 days without swearing…I blew it on day one.

Clean. Pure. Clear. Fresh. Unpolluted. Uncontaminated.

We have imposed a new-and-improved no swear rule around our house. The swear jar wasn’t very effective, so it morphed into: if you swear, do an extra chore. Here’s a broom. Here’s the toilet scrubbing brush. Here’s a pile of laundry to fold.

Who needs Snow White’s forest friends to clean when you have children with mouths like sailors?  🙂

This rule has been so effective that once everyone caught on, the swearing was minimized and the mess returned.

On Tuesday, I spotted dirty dishes mounting in the sink, overflowing onto the counter. And I heard the kids arguing about whose job it was to load the dishwasher. I could not help but yell:


Because I had had enough. But no sooner had the words left my mouth, I regretted both my word choices and how extremely loud my voice had transformed in those few seconds.

Yet, the dishes were promtly loaded. And everything–including the language–was clean again. Until day two…

Oh fudge!

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Not Sponge Worthy


Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Cleaning, Housecleaning, Humor | Posted on 08-09-2014

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You know how it takes a village to raise a child? Sometimes, it takes a village to clean a shower.

Or a pressure washer.

Layers and layers of soap scum had built up in the shower. Because, keeping yourself clean is apparently a dirty job.

After some hard core scrubbing with a sponge, we realized that this was a job for Superman. The pressure washer.

Brilliant! Pressure washer companies should totally market this. Not just for cleaning mossy driveways and mildewy lawn furniture! It can also tackle your shower!

No sponge necessary.

What is this? I am not familiar with…cleaning.

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Welcome to Our Bed and Breakfast


Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Children, Cleaning, Housecleaning, Humor | Posted on 16-08-2013

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My mother recently came for a visit.

No problem, she can sleep in my daughter’s room, we thought.

A lovely, friendly, and colorful room. Perfect for welcoming guests.

Yeah, no.

It was friendly and colorful all right. Whoa! We walked in and it was floor-to-ceiling stuffed animals, overstuffed drawers with polka dots and stripes, bobble head collections askew, art boxes overflowing with paintbrushes and half-finished works of art, girl Legos, Barbies, horses. You name it.

Yeah, you couldn’t see the carpet.

It was not the peaceful oasis we were hoping for. Turns out that it was easier for my husband to dissemble her headboard and bed frame and move the entire bed–mattress and box springs and all–downstairs to my home office. And reassemble and make the bed, with fresh roses bedside on the filing cabinet, of course.

Bed and breakfast in my office now open. Free highlighters, staples, and Post-Its to all our guests.

Bed & Breakfast Sign

The Mountain and a Friendly Laundry Tip


Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Advice, Children, Cleaning, Family | Posted on 30-05-2013

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You know how it goes. Clothes get dirty. You wash them. You dry them. And then you leave them on the dryer. To pile up. Higher and higher. And you start rummaging through the pile, trying to retrieve the clean underwear, only to discover that the pile starts to topple over. The clean clothes get mixed up with the dirty clothes, and you certainly don’t want to rewash clean clothes. And you realize there is. No. More. Clean. Underwear. You decide that it is easier to go to the store to buy your child a pack of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle underwear, instead of rummaging and toppling.

Because sometimes the act of folding a mountain of laundry is unsurmountable.

Someone once offered me a friendly tip: “Why don’t you fold as you go? That’s what I do.” As in, fold the laundry as soon as it comes out of the dryer. Wow, genius!

My friendly tip: when the mountain gets too high, go shopping.

mount everest

What’s Lurking in Your Closet?


Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Cleaning, Clothes, Women, Work | Posted on 16-01-2013

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What’s lurking in MY closet? I’ll tell you: crazy-ugly clothes.

But that was last week. Today they are gone. Yep, I got rid of 1/5 of my clothes. Just. Like. That.

Here’s how it went down. I was getting dressed for work and I was in a hurry. I tried on a black skirt and a black turtleneck sweater. I took off the black skirt because–for some lame reason–it wasn’t the SAME matching black as the sweater. I threw it onto the floor. So there I was, standing in my turtleneck sweater and tights. I’ll wear some boots, it’ll be swell. But what skirt? The grey one? Yeah, that’s it. I peered at my reflection. No! All wrong! I yanked off the boots and put on flats. I took another peek in the mirror. No! Still not right! I shimmied out of the tights and put on (boring) slacks. And grabbed my keys, purse, laptop, phone…and dashed out the door.

Ugh. I hate it when I’m feeling uncomfortable–and lacking confidence–in my clothes. I also hate it when I continue to make bad clothing purchases.

So I did what I had to do. When I got home, I proceeded to:

  1. Grab
  2. Assess
  3. Dump

Pilling sweaters. Skirts of strange lengths. Baggy blouses. Gaggy patterns. Hideous materials. Ill-fitting pants. These are all stuffed into giant bags destined for…donation.

Good riddance, skeletons!

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I Mopped The Floor…And I Liked It


Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Cleaning | Posted on 14-01-2013

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I tried something I don’t normally do. I mopped the floor.

And guess what? I liked it.

So I wrote a little song about it. Thank you to the original songwriters for the inspiration: Cathy Dennis, Lukasz Gottwald, Max Martin, and Katy Perry.

This was never the way I planned
Not my intention
I got so brave, mop in hand
Lost my discretion
It’s not what, I’m used to
Just wanna try you on
I’m curious for you
Caught my attention
I mopped a floor and I liked it
The smell of the Murphy oil soap
I mopped a floor just to try it
I hope my sad broom don’t mind it
It felt so wrong
It felt so right
Don’t mean I’m cleaning all day
I mopped a floor and I liked it
I liked it
No, I don’t even mop every week
It doesn’t matter,
You’re my experimental game
Just another chore,
It’s not what,
Fun Moms do
Not how they should behave
My head gets so confused
Hard to obey
I mopped the floor and I liked it
The smell of Murphy oil soap
I mopped the floor just to try it
I hope my sad broom don’t mind it
It felt so wrong
It felt so right
Don’t mean I’m cleaning all day
mopped a floor and I liked it
I liked it
We Moms, we are so amazing
Sweet kids, fun house, so creative
Hard to resist so playable
Too good to deny it
Ain’t no big deal, it’s easy enough
I mopped a floor and I liked it
The smell of Murphy oil soap
I mopped a floor just to try it
I hope my sad broom don’t mind it
It felt so wrong
It felt so right
Don’t mean I’m cleaning all day
I mopped a floor and I liked it
I liked it

I Heart the Laundromat


Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Cleaning, Clothes, Connections, Life Lessons, Memories, Mothering, Mothers and Daughters, Relationships, Ritual | Posted on 25-07-2012

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I’m not a fan of washing laundry these days. What a chore.

But it didn’t used to be a chore. Growing up, my mother didn’t buy a washer and dryer until I was a teenager. So, every Saturday night, we’d haul a week’s worth of dirty laundry to the Laundromat.

It was our Saturday-night ritual. And it was kinda like date night.

With a purse full of quarters weighing down one hand and the jug of bleach in the other hand, laundry night was also a workout.

I remember the sounds of the chugging of the washers. We could wash 10 loads at once!

Then we’d sneak out and go next door for donuts. I would get a chocolate old-fashioned doughnut and a bagful of doughnut holes. Oh yeah, and a raspberry jelly-filled doughnut with powdered sugar. The anticipation of folding those mountains always increased my appetite.

When drying the clothes, the Laundromat would fill with the wonderful smell of Bounce. If it was raining, it would be so toasty inside.

Time to eat the donuts and guzzle down the carton of milk. And talk. When it was time to fold, that’s when the party really began.

My mother taught me to match up the socks and fold them over in pairs so they stayed together and how to tri-fold bath towels. Just like the Hilton.

It was together time, snack time, and hang-out time. My mother transformed the typically tedious ritual of doing laundry into Mom-and-daughter date night.

Take Care of the Minutes


Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Advice, Childrearing, Cleaning, Family, Housecleaning, Humor, Ideas, Life Lessons, Manners, Mom Time, Mother, Parenting, Personal Care, Time | Posted on 28-04-2012

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My grandmother had a needlepoint hanging in her living room that was stitched, “Take care of the minutes and the hours will take care of themselves.” As a kid, I didn’t know what the hell that meant. Now I do.

It’s about being in the present. And making your time count.

With busy, overscheduled schedules, you’ve heard the phrase “it only takes two minutes.” And “there aren’t enough minutes in the day.” This refers to things such as:

  • flossing
  • hugging your children
  • doing stomach crunches
  • filling up your aluminum water bottle
  • sitting with your children and asking about their day
  • checking in with your family on Facebook
  • reading a book to your child
  • calling to schedule your mammogram
  • tweezing your eyebrows
  • making a sandwich for your child’s lunch
  • doing 50 push ups
  • writing an email to your mother
  • folding half a load of laundry
  • putting on sunscreen
  • connecting with 10 Tweeps
  • scrubbing out the toilet
  • feeding the goldfish
  • shaving yur legs
  • petting the dog
  • writing a thank you note to your kids’ teacher
  • putting on mascara and lipstick
  • making a big batch of tuna for sandwiches the next day
  • sweeping the kitchen floor
  • setting the family dinner table
  • running a vacuum across the living room
  • filling up the bird feeder
  • thawing the frozen chicken for dinner
  • emailing the latest kid’s photo to their grandparents
  • writing a nice comment on a blog post
  • taking inventory of all the things you are thankful for
  • IMing your husband some sweet words
  • watering the plants above your kitchen sink
  • laying out coats, backpacks, and shoes the night before
  • making a protein smoothie
  • sitting quietly and just breathing

That’s all fine and good. But when you add two minutes here and two minutes there, that’s a lot of minutes. No wonder we often feel overwhelmed.

The point is, you can’t DO everything. You need to pick and choose. Maybe, today is the day you pick and choose a few of the “want tos” rather than the “have tos.” Take some time for yourself. Take some time for your loved ones. Isn’t that more important than cleaning the stupid floor?

And maybe, you’ll find that that time is time well spent.